Friday, December 31, 2010

LIVE BLOG: Wildcats vs Sea Dogs

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: One Year Ago...

One year ago tonight, one of the most entertaining games of the 2009-10 season took place at the Moncton Coliseum.

The Moncton Wildacts held a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission against the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs have never had much luck in Moncton in terms of winning.

“We came in the room after the second period and no one was talking,” said Mike Hoffman to the Telegraph-Journal, via the SN post-game. “We were just thinking about what we had to do in the third period.

"All the boys were focused in the room and we went out there and dominated them in the third period. Coming back from 3-1 in Moncton isn't an easy thing to do.''

But Saint John did it, coming all the way back. Danick Gauthier scored early in the third and Yann Sauve tied it, eventually taking the match to a shootout. Mike Hoffman and Tomas Jurco scored in the breakaway challenge to pick up the extra point.

Probably the most memorable moment of the game came when Marco Cousineau made an unreal save in the dying moments to send the game to extra time.

Apparently, these are the highlights. For some bizarre reason, the goals are not in order.



And here is the shootout:

PRE-GAME: Rivalry Cup Game 3 - Moncton Wildcats vs Saint John Sea Dogs

By Station Nation Staff

GAME DAY
WHO: Moncton Wildcats vs Saint John Sea Dogs
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 pm
WHERE: Harbour Station

VISITING TEAM: Moncton Wildcats
Record: 20-14-1-3 (3rd in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 4-1 loss vs PEI yesterday
Leading Scorer: Allain Saulnier (38GP-17G-29A-46Pts)
Notes: The Moncton Wildcats enter play on this New Year’s Eve with a record of 20-14-1-3 which places them third in the Maritimes Division and tenth overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Wildcats are 16 points back of the division leading Saint John Sea Dogs and four points back of the the second place Acadie-Bathurst Titan… Moncton is coming off a 4-1 loss last night at the Moncton Coliseum against the Prince Edward Island Rocket. Thomas Flynn opened the scoring in the first period and that would prove to be the lone ‘Cats goal as the Rocket scored four unanswered markers. Shane Owen made 29 saves in the loss… Moncton is on a bit of slide of late. They have lost three straight contests and have been outscored 11-3 during that time. They include a shutout loss against Bathurst, a one-goal defeat against the cellar dwelling Halifax Mooseheads, and last night’s loss… 4-5-1-0 in their last 10 games… the Wildcats are 11-8-0-1 on the road so far this season but have been outscored 72-66 along the way… Moncton’s power play has been decent this year. They are currently ranked fifth in the league with a rating of 26.9%. On the road, their power play is operating at 26.2%... the Wildcats’ penalty kill is ranked eighth in the QMJHL with a rating of 80.1%. On the road, their penalty kill improves to 81%... Allain Saulnier leads the Wildcats in scoring with 46 points on the year. His twin, Alex, is a close second with 45 points… Marek Hrivik is currently playing with Team Slovakia at the world juniors but still leads Moncton in goals scored with 18. Allain Saulnier and Daniel Pettersson are a close second with 17 markers each… Daniel Milan is a team worst -13… 20-year old Shane Owen will likely get the start in net for Moncton. He has a record of 11-11-0-3, a goals against average of 3.14, and a save percentage of 0.910… Hrivik and Alex Saulnier are tied for fifth in the QMJHL with 15 power play assists… goaltender Shane Owen is tied for the league lead in shootout loses with three… Milan leads all rookies in power play points with 14… Moncton is 16-4-0-1 when scoring first… the ‘Cats are averaging 3.45 goals per game and 3.50 goals against per game… the ‘Cats are allowing a league high 33.42 shots against per game… Moncton is 1-0-0-1 when playing Saint John on New Year’s Eve… they are 0-2-0-0 against the Sea Dogs this season.

HOME TEAM: Saint John Sea Dogs
Record: 29-5-0-2 (1st in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 5-4 loss at Bathurst yesterday
Leading Scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau (36GP-24G-32A-56Pts)
Notes: The Saint John Sea Dogs enter play this evening with a record of 29-5-0-2 which is good for first in the Maritimes Division and third overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Dogs slipped to third after losing in Bathurst last night, falling three points back of the Quebec Remparts and one point back of the Montreal Juniors. The Sea Dogs have played four fewer games than Quebec and three fewer than Montreal… in the last BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings, the Sea Dogs were ranked first… Saint John is coming off a 5-4 loss in Bathurst last night. Kevin Gagne and Steven Anthony both scored early to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead. But the Titan climbed back to eventually win the game with a late third period marker. Stanislav Galiev and Scott Oke were the other goal scorers. Jacob DeSerres and Federic Piche combine to stop 28 shots… Saint John has the sixth best power play in the league with a rating of 24.1%… the team's penalty kill is operating at 81.3%, good for fifth overall in the QMJHL… Saint John remains a remarkable 17-0-0-1 at Harbour Station this season, picking up 35 of a possible 36 points. They have outscored their opposition 94-38 on home ice this season... 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and are coming off a loss. Prior to yesterday’s loss, the Sea Dogs had won three straight… Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Dogs in points with 56 in 36 games this season. He also leads the team in assists with 32 and is second in goals with 24… Zach Phillips leads Saint John in goal scoring with 25 markers on the season… Huberdeau is a league best +33 this year… Jacob DeSerres will likely get the start in net. He has a record of 12-2-0-0, a goals against average of 2.37, and a save percentage of 0.916. DeSerres replaced Frederic Piche halfway through yesterday’s game… Michael Kirkpatrick is second in the QMJHL with 96 shots on goal… DeSerres’ GAA of 2.37 is the second best in the QMJHL… Saint John leads the league in shots for per game with an average of 35.67… the Sea Dogs are 2-0-0-0 against Moncton this season and have outscored them 15-9.

TONIGHT'S GAME IS SOLD OUT

Tonight’s Saint John Sea Dogs game against the Moncton Wildcats at Harbour Station is completely sold out. Harbour Station released 200 standing room tickets yesterday but they have since been sold as well.

This is the first sell out for a Sea Dogs game since Game Five of the 2010 President’s Cup Final when tickets were bought in just minutes for the Sea Dogs – Wildcats tilt.

The annual New Year’s Eve game has proven to be a success when held at night. Last year’s game at the Moncton Coliseum was sold out as well.

Fans wishing to follow the Rivalry Cup match can listen on News 88.9, purchase the game on Telus webcast, or follow Station Nation on Twitter or the live blog for updates.

WJC TODAY - 12-31-10

SLOVAKS FALL TO SWISS
Switzerland pulled off a 6-4 victory over Slovakia yesterday at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo.

Switzerland took a 3-1 lead after 20-minutes and a 4-2 lead through 40. But in the third, the Slovaks battled back to tie the match at 4-4. A Swiss goal at 14:06 of the final frame and an empty netter in the final minute would guarantee a Switzerland win.

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco failed to register a point – or a shot on goal – in the loss. He finished the match with a -1 rating. What his stats don’t show, however, is a glorious scoring opportunity he couldn’t cash in on.

From the Buffalo News:

In his game Thursday against the Swiss, Slovakia's Tomas Jurco saw the rebound bounce to him with a wide-open net in his vision. In anticipation of what seemed like a sure goal, whoever operates the goal light signaled the red light instantly.

Not so fast. Jurco couldn't corral the loose puck for the easy goal -- a theme for the Slovaks all game. Switzerland kept the lead and went on the win. The play was one, of many, missed opportunities for Slovakia. Just ask whoever was operating the goal light.
More from Yahoo! Sports:

Draft-eligible forward Tomas Jurco was shaking his head after missing a glorious chance in the second period. He had a wide open net to goalie Benjamin Conz’s left, but a defender just managed to tip the puck away.

“I tried the rebound, the defenceman put his stick there and it was just bad luck, it missed (by) like a couple of centimetres,” Jurco said. “He put his stick on my stick, it was a hard rebound but still I should have scored.”
Slovakia is now 1-2 at the world juniors and play their final preliminary round game today against Finland.

THE BIG ONE
Coming off a 6-3 win against the Czech Republic, the 3-0 Swedes will face their toughest test of the tournament today when they face the Canadians at HSBC Arena.

Game time is 5:00 pm AST with the TSN pre-game show beginning at 4:30 pm. For those travelling to Harbour Station for today’s Rivalry Cup game, the match is supposed to be on News 88.9 beginning at 4:30.

Canada, also 3-0, is coming off a 10-1 blowout victory over Norway Wednesday night. The day off yesterday was probably the best thing for the beat up Canadians. Cody Eakin and Calvin de Haan are expected to return from injuries tonight. Meanwhile, Zack Kassian will be suspended and Jaden Schwartz is out for the remainder of the tournament with an ankle injury.

Brayden Schenn enters tonight’s game on a hot streak after scoring four goals against the Norwegians. He leads the Canadians in points with six goals and 12-points. Four players for Sweden are tied with a team high four points.

Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy is expected to start in net for Canada.

OTHER GAMES
Other games at the world juniors today include the Czech Republic taking on Russia and the United States facing Switzerland.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TITAN CLIMB BACK TO DROP SEA DOGS

SN POST-GAME
FINAL: Sea Dogs 4, Titan 5

BATHURST – It wasn’t the way the Saint John Sea Dogs wanted to open up the second half of their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season.

The Sea Dogs blew a 2-0 first period lead as the Acadie-Bathurst Titan battled back to win 5-4 Thursday night at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

Bathurst scored three straight goals after falling behind 2-0 early. The Titan would fight all game despite the Sea Dogs tying the match up twice. A late third period goal by Jeremie Malouin iced the game for the home team who were also playing their first match of the second half.

Gabriel Levesque, Jonathan Lessard, Jeremie Blain, and Daivid Gilbert also scored for Bathurst. Robert Steeves made 32 saves in the win.

For Saint John, Kevin Gagne, Steven Anthony, Stanislav Galiev, and Scott Oke all scored. Frederic Piche was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 15 shots while Jacob DeSerres made 17 stops in relief.

LIVE BLOG: Sea Dogs vs Titan

NOTE: The internet is being a joke tonight so no comments can be posted.

 

PRE-GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Acadie-Bathurst Titan

By Station Nation Staff

GAME DAY
WHO: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Acadie-Bathurst Titan
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 pm
WHERE: KC Irving Regional Centre

VISITING TEAM: Saint John Sea Dogs
Record: 29-4-0-2 (1st in Atlantic Division)
Last Game: 2-1 win at Cape Breton on December 18
Leading Scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau (35GP-24G-30A-54Pts)
Notes: The Saint John Sea Dogs enter action tonight with a record of 29-4-0-2 which is good for first in the Maritimes Division and a tie for second overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. They are a single point back of the league leading Quebec Remparts but have played four fewer games than Patrick Roy’s club… in the latest BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings, the Sea Dogs were placed as the No. 1 team in the Canadian Hockey League… the Sea Dogs have not played since December 18 when Stephen MacAulay scored with less than a second remaining in regulation to give Saint John a 2-1 victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200. Jacob DeSerres made 22 stops in the road win. Saint John was supposed to travel to Charlottetown on Tuesday to face the Rocket but couldn’t because of bad weather… Saint John has won three straight games going into tonight’s match and are 9-1-0-0 in their last 10 games. Their last loss came December 10 in Lewiston against the MAINEiacs… the Dogs continue to lead the QMJHL in goals scored this season with 168 in 35 games. They are averaging 4.8 goals per game… Saint John has also allowed the fewest goals against this year with 90 for an average of 2.6 goals against per game… 12-4-0-1 on the road and have outscored their opposition 74-52 along the way… Saint John has the sixth best power play in the league with a rating of 23.7%… the team's penalty kill is operating at 82.1%, good for fourth overall in the QMJHL. On the road however, their penalty kill slips to 78.6%... Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Dogs in points with 54 in 35 games this season. He also leads the team in assists with 30, is second in goals with 24, has a team high +34 rating, and is second only to the newly acquired Alexandre Beauregard in penalty minutes with 45… Zach Phillips leads the club in goals with 25 and sits just three points back of Huberdeau for the team lead in points… if the goaltending rotation carries over into the second half of the season, Frederic Piche should be getting the call in net. He has a record of 13-2-0-2, a goals against average of 2.45, and a save percentage of 0.915. He has not played since December 17 in Cape Breton, a 6-2 Saint John win… Phillips is second in the league with 11 power play goals… Phillips is tied for the league lead in first goals with seven… Stanislav Galiev, Tomas Jurco, and Huberdeau are tied for second in the league in insurance goals… Beauregard’s 80 penalty minutes place him fifth in the league in time spent in the box.

HOME TEAM: Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Record: 23-14-0-0 (2nd in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 5-4 loss at Halifax on December 18
Leading Scorer: Gabriel Levesque (37GP-16G-35A-51Pts)
Notes: The Acadie-Bathurst Titan enter play this evening with a record of 23-14-0-0 which places them second in the Maritimes Division and seventh overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Titan are currently 14-points back of the division leading Sea Dogs and have played two more games… like the Sea Dogs, the Titan have not played since December 18. Their last game was a 5-4 loss at the Halifax Metro Centre to the cellar dwelling Mooseheads. Vincent Arseneau, Gabriel Levesque with two, and David Gilbert all scored for Bathurst in the loss. Derek Tait allowed two goals on 15 shots while Robert Steeves allowed three of 12 shots. The offensively challenged Mooseheads outshot the Titan 27-25 in the match. Like Saint John, the Titan were scheduled to play on Tuesday but the match was postponed due to poor weather conditions… Bathurst’s power play is ranked eighth in the league with a rating of 22.5%. At home, their power play is operating at 21.3%... the Titan’s penalty kill has been solid this year and has been working at 83%, good for second in the league and only behind the Drummondville Voltigeurs. At home, their penalty kill slips all the way to 78.3%... At the KC Irving Regional Centre this season, the Titan are 12-6-0-0 and have outscored their opposition 68-55… 6-4-0-0 in their last 10-games and are coming off a loss… Gabriel Levesque leads the Titan in scoring with 51 points in 37 games this year. He also leads the team in assists by a large margin with 35… Sebastien Trudeau is the team’s goal scoring leader. He has 17 markers in 37 contests. Levesque and Jonathan Lessard are second on the team in goals with 16 each… Vincent Arseneau has been very involved in the past few Saint John – Bathurst meetings. He leads the club in penalty minutes with 94… Lessard is tied for second in the league in game winning goals with six… no Titan player is in the top-20 of the plus/minus category… Zach O’Brien is fifth in rookie scoring with 27 points… with No. 1 netminder Olivier Roy away with Team Canada at the world juniors, Robert Steeves and Derek Tait are sharing the goaltending duties. Steeves has a record of 7-2-0-0, a goals against average of 1.75, and a save percentage of 0.939. Tait has a record of 4-3-0-0, a GAA of 3.10, and a SV% of 0.894. Steeves has played more minutes than Tait.

STANDING ROOM TICKETS AVAILABLE

Standing room only tickets have been release for tomorrow’s Saint John Sea Dogs – Moncton Wildcats tilt at Harbour Station. Game time is 7:30 pm.

According to the Harbour Station website, “Standing Room Tickets available only at the Harbour Station Box Office or by calling 657-1234/1-800-267-2800.”

Standing room tickets are $12 for the New Year’s Eve clash.

The Moncton Times & Transcript reported this morning that “there's only 120 seats and 250 standing room tickets remaining for the New Year's Eve game in Saint John.”

With all of the seats sold, Saint John has earned three more points in the Brunswick News Rivalry Cup Challenge.

The standing room tickets will likely sell quickly, giving the Sea Dogs their first sell-out of the season.

WJC TODAY - 12-30-10

CANADA WRECKS NORWAY
Finally, Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres picked up his first point at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship. Despres assisted on Sean Couturier’s third period tally in Canada’s 10-1 rout over Norway last night at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

The Sea Dogs defenseman was the last player on Canada’s roster to earn a point at the world juniors.

With three injured players and one suspended for Canada, several persons would have to step up. Luckily, their opponent hardly gave Canada a test and now have a day off to recover for the final game of the preliminary round against Sweden Friday.

Despres saw a bit of ice time in just about every situation. He almost had two assists as he sent a bullet pass to Brett Connolly in the second period that sprung the Prince George Cougar on a breakaway but was stopped by the Norwegian netminder.

Canada held a 6-1 advantage after 20-minutes but were somehow outshot by Norway, 16-15. Things slowed down in the middle frame as Canada scored just one. But in the third, the Canadians scored three to take the game by score of 10-1.

Los Angeles Kings prospect Brayden Schenn was in beast mode all night, scoring four goals and tying a Canadian world junior record for goals in a game. Surprisingly, Erik Gudbranson was named the player of the game for Canada, forcing the arena into a universal state of shock. Pierre McGuire was close to crying on air.

Along with Schenn’s four goals, Gubranson had a pair while singles came from Casey Cizikas, Louis Leblanc, Marcus Foligno, and Couturier. Goaltender Mark Visentin made 31 saves in the game.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WJC TODAY - 12-29-10

CANADA WINS 
A blowout win for the Canadians turned into an eventful game for Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leaguers. In the end, Team Canada won the World Junior Hockey Championship match against Team Czech Republic by score or 7-2 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo yesterday.

For the second straight game, Canada failed to score the opening goal. Antonin Honejsek opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the game, forcing fans across the twitterverse to send hate messages towards Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy.

At 14:17, Halifax Mooseheads rookie import forward Martin Frk hauled down Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres in the neutral zone, giving Canada a power play chance. Brayden Schenn would score on the man advantage opportunity to tie the match at 1-1.

Then on another power play at 16:40, Jaden Schwartz scored to give the Canadians their first lead of the game going into the second period.

In the middle frame at 5:53, Windsor Spitfire Zack Kassian leveled Czech defenseman Petr Senkerik in open ice. Kassian was tossed from the game and given a five minute major while Senkerik was carted off the ice on a stretcher.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BIG CROWD EXPECTED FOR FRIDAY'S RIVALRY CUP GAME

A large crowd is expected to be on hand on Friday night when the Saint John Sea Dogs host the Moncton Wildcats at Harbour Station. Game time for Game Three of the 2010-11 Brunswick News Rivalry Cup is 7:30 pm.

The Harbour Station website shows that only a “limited” number of tickets remain for the New Year’s Eve contest.

The Sea Dogs have not sold-out a game since Game Five of the 2010 President’s Cup Final against the Wildcats. A Sea Dogs release posted on Our Sports Central reads that a full house is expected for the annual New Year’s Eve contest between the provincial rivals.

All upper bowl tickets are just $10, and can be obtained by calling the Harbour Station box office at (506) 657-1234, or by visiting http://www.tickets.harbourstation.ca/.

The largest crowd of the season at Harbour Station came on October 8 when 5,678 spectators saw Saint John defeat Moncton 6-2.

The Sea Dogs are 2-0 against the Wildcats this season, outscoring the ‘Cats 15-9 along the way. Their last meeting came at the Moncton Coliseum and saw the Sea Dogs overcome a 4-0 first period deficit to win 9-7.

The Dogs then travel to Wildtown on Sunday to for a rare 2:00 pm start. Before this doubleheader begins though, Saint John will play in Bathurst on Thursday night.

SEA DOGS - ROCKET GAME POSTPONED

Tonight’s Saint John Sea Dogs road game in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island has been postponed “due to hazardous weather conditions and the accumulation of snow in eastern New Brunswick,” states a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League release.

The game will be made up on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00 pm at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.

The cancellation isn’t much of a surprise as the Wildcats – Titan game scheduled to take place tonight at the Moncton Coliseum was postponed yesterday due to Snowmageddon 2010 hitting New Brunswick.

The Confederation Bridge is also experiencing some delays. From their website:

For user safety, the Confederation Bridge has restricted certain classes of vehicles from crossing until the current high wind situation changes. Restricted classes include automobiles towing trailers, motorcycles, highsided vehicles including trucks, tractor trailers, recreational vehicles, and buses.
Tickets for tonight’s game can be used for the rescheduled game on the 16th of March.

Both teams are missing some of their best players tonight as Saint John’s Tomas Jurco and Simon Despres and PEI’s Andrej Nestrasil are currently participating in the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, New York. Despres’ Canadians and Nestrasil’s Czechs meet each other tonight.

The rescheduled game creates a busy March for the Sea Dogs as they now play eight games in 17-days.

The Sea Dogs’ next game is Thursday at the KC Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst.

WJC TODAY - 12-28-10

SLOVAKS WIN OPENER
Tomas Jurco and Team Slovakia opened up the World Junior Hockey Championships in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 overtime win against the Germans last night.

Moncton Wildcats forward Marek Hrivik scored at 3:39 of the extra session on the power play to give Slovakia a win in their first contest of the tournament. After falling to Switzerland on Monday, Germany is now 0-2.

Richard Panik opened the scoring eight seconds into the second period to give Slovakia a 1-0 lead. Germany would tie the affair at 16:46 thanks to a Norman Hauner goal, a marker that would eventually force overtime.

Slovakian goaltender Dominik Riecicky was solid, making 47 saves in net to earn the victory. German netminder Philipp Grubauer picked up the loss after stopping 37 shots.

Jurco had a quiet game for Slovakia. He recorded two shots on goal, no points, no penalty minutes, and a zero rating. The game was not available on television or webcast, but eye witnesses of the match tweeted that he didn’t do a whole lot.

“Haven't noticed much from SJ Sea Dogs' Tomas Jurco, except for when he lost 3 1-on-1 battles in a row on one shift in first,” wrote Yahoo! Sports’ Neate Sager in the first period.

“Had nice postgame interview w/ Jurco- didn't see much time tonight but played well from what I saw,” tweeted Kirk Luedeke of the New England Hockey Journal and Bruins Draft Watch.

Monday, December 27, 2010

FORMER DOG TRADED TO VOLTS

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Robert McEwan was traded this morning from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in exchange for Antoine Nadeau.

McEwan has appeared in 20-games with the last place Huskies this season, recording one goal and three assists to go along with 12 penalty minutes and a -11 rating.

The Mississauga, Ontario native joined the Sea Dogs as a free agent in August of 2008. He played in just 32 games as a rookie in 2008-09 and saw limited ice time. He recorded two assists, 27 penalty minutes, and a -2 rating in his appearances with Saint John.

In five games with the Sea Dogs last season, he recorded no points, four penalty minutes, and a +4 rating. McEwan was designated for assignment in October and released from the team in January.

After a stint in the Ontario junior ‘A’ ranks last year, McEwan joined the Huskies this past August.

The Voltigeurs host the Rimouski Oceanic tonight.

In another move today, the Gatineau Olympiques traded right-winger Yoan Pinette to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for a second pick in 2011.

- Photo Credit: David Connell Photography

WJC TODAY - 12-27-10

CANADA BEATS RUSSIA


Team Canada opened up the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships yesterday afternoon at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena. It was a shaky start by the Canadians, but it proved to be nothing more than a bit of adversity as they went on to defeat Russia 6-3.

Subway Super Series monster Maxim Kitsyn opened up the scoring at 3:57 when he tipped a point shot past Olivier Roy to give the Russians an early lead. Marcus Foligno would jam home a rebound at 17:55 to square the game up at 1-1 going into the first intermission.

In the second, Canada got their first lead at 10:35 when captain Ryan Ellis beat London Knights goaltender Igor Bobkov to make it a 2-1 affair. But the Russians kept coming as Nikita Dvurechensky beat Roy through the five-hole to tie the match once again.

Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres’ defense partner, Erik Gudbranson, gave Canada their lead back at 15:15 only to have it erased once again just under two-minutes later by Daniil Sobchenko.

In the third period, Canada would start to take the game over. Goals by Ryan Johansen, Brayden Schenn, and Curtis Hamilton iced the game for the Canucks who improved to 1-0 in tournament play.

Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy made 24 saves for the win. He appeared nervous to start the match but improved as the game moved forward.

Despres was held pointless in the tilt but did play a role in Gudbranson’s second period marker. He finished the game with one shot on goal and a +1 rating.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WJC TODAY - 12-26-10

It’s show time for Team Canada.

The 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships’ silver medalists open up the 2011 edition of the annual holiday tournament today against Russia beginning at 4:30pm AST on TSN.

In pre-tournament play, Canada went 3-0 via victories over Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland.

This will be the first time these two rivals face each other at the world juniors since Jordan Eberle went into animal mode back in the 2009 semi-final.



This will be the second time a Saint John Sea Dogs player suits up for the Canadians in the teams six-year franchise history. Defenseman Simon Despres joins Chris DiDomenico - who helped capture Canada’s last gold in 2009 - in the elite club.

In exhibition play, Despres was paired mostly with Florida Panthers prospect Erik Gudbranson. Buzzing The Net has a rundown on their play:

The third pairing of Simon Despr├ęs and Erik Gudbranson let a little to be desired in the last two exhibitions vs. Sweden and Finland. Their abilities are self-evident; The Big Horse nearly got some NHL time this fall with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Erik The Very Gud made the Florida Panthers (save for a contract contretemps). Keep an eye on how they come along over the tourney.
NO GALIEV
For Russia, there will be no Sea Dogs in their lineup.

Forward Stanislav Galiev, who attended the tail end of the Russian training camp in Jamestown, New York earlier this past week, did not make the team’s final roster.

The Washington Capitals prospect will surely be disappointed as he said numerous times that one of his goals was to make the Russian junior team this season. He played for his home country in Game One of the 2010 Subway Super Series at Harbour Station.

In 31 games this season with Saint John, Galiev has 16 goals and 15 assists.

THE SLOVAKS
Tomas Jurco and Team Slovakia open up the world juniors tomorrow night at HSBC Arena at 8:00pm AST in a game that will NOT be on TSN.

If you find any interesting links around the interweb about the Slovaks or any Sea Dogs related WJC happenings, feel free to email us them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

WJC TODAY - 12-24-10

CANADA BEATS FINLAND
It wasn’t their greatest game of the pre-tournament, but Canada managed to get by Finland 5-2 last night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Canada fell behind for the first time in the opening frame when Henri Tuominen scored at 11:44 on a shot that Canadian goaltender Mark Visentin had no chance at stopping.

In the second period, captain Ryan Ellis tied the match 28 seconds in before Ryan Johansen gave Canada a 2-1 advantage at 12:07. The two teams would go into the final stanza tied at 2-2 however as Erik Haula snipped a shot past the blocker of Visentin.

In the third, the home team began to pour it on, outshooting Finland 13-7. Sean Couturier, Quinton Howden, and Johansen all scored in the final 20-minutes to earn a 5-2 victory and improve to 3-0 in exhibition play.

“If our third period was our first, I’d like that better,” Canada’s coach Dave Cameron said to QMI Agency, “but we showed what we needed to do (in a tight game).”

Visenten played well in goal, stopping 18 shots in his second start of pre-tournament play. It isn’t known if Visenten or Olivier Roy will get the start Sunday when Canada opens the World Junior Hockey Championships against Russia.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

SAUVE SENT TO MOOSE
As we posted the other day, former Sea Dogs defenseman Yann Sauve was assigned to the Manitoba Moose last Thursday. The 20-year had been playing with the East Coast Hockey League’s Victoria Salmon Kings where he had two assists in seven games.

Sauve’s stint in the ECHL was believed to be for conditioning after finally recovering from a concussion he suffered in September. Now, the Vancouver Canucks must decide where to put Sauve for the rest of the season.

A second round pick of the Canucks in 2008, there have been rumblings of him possibly returning for a final year of junior in Saint John.

OKE NAMED TOP STUDENT
Sea Dogs forward Scott Oke was named the teams Student of the Month for November last week. Oke was presented with the honour at Harbour Station earier this month.

Oke is currently a 12th grade student at St. Malachy’s High School.

ISS FEATURES
Tomas Jurco was the lone Sea Dog to make International Scouting Service's list of top 30 prospects for the upcoming National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Jurco was placed in the No. 22 spot and joined Drummondville’s Sean Couturier, ranked first overall, as the only Quebec leaguers to make the list.

Four Sea Dogs – Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Phillips, Guillaume Cloutier, and Scott Oke – were listed as “risers.” All four have a paragraph written about them on the Hockey’s Future website.

“Showed us a little more every viewing; played well with Kelly and Tesink,” says the scouting service about Scott Oke. “Showed better vision and passing ability then seen in early viewings; made a few smart 5 foot passes and a few good 30 foot passes, finding seams. Doesn't always see his options, but is showing more patience with puck. Worked hard and made the most of limited ice time...played 4th line with no PP or PK.”

JURCO ON TPS
Last week, Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco went on The Pipeline Show radio program. To download the interview, click HERE.

WJC TODAY - 12-23-10

GAME DAY
Team Canada will play their final pre-tournament game prior to the start of the World Junior Hockey Championships tonight in Kitchener, Ont. against Finland.

The game can be seen live on TSN2 at 8:30pm AST.

The Canadians are 2-0 so far in exhibition play, outscoring their opponents 12-1.

The world juniors begin on Boxing Day with Canada taking on Russia.

LAST GAME
Canada had a tougher test on Tuesday night when they faced Sweden at the Air Canada Centre than they had Monday versus Switzerland.

The Canadians would go on to defeat the Swedes 4-1, and although the team wasn’t expected to dominate as they did in Monday’s 8-0 blowout win over the Swiss, they got off to a slow start and had their troubles.

"I don't think anybody thought we were going to win every game 8-0," head coach Dave Cameron said to the Canadian Press. "There's a lot of good hockey teams here and Sweden is one of them, it's a real challenge to beat them and they pushed us and we found a way.

"It was a real good test. That's how you get better."

Despite being outshot 15-5 in the opening frame, Canada held a 1-0 lead thanks to a beautiful display of stick work by Brayden Schenn.

Zack Kassian would score in the second to give Canada a 2-0 lead. In the third, Sweden got on the board when a Max Friberg shot from the wing appeared to deflect off Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres’ stick and over Canada goaltender Olivier Roy to make it a one-goal game.

But Canada would get two later in the stanza thanks to Ryan Johansen and Cody Eakin to get a 4-1 victory.

Roy, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan No. 1 goaltender, made 29 saves in the win.

SLOVAKIA VS RUSSIA
Tomas Jurco and Team Slovakia will face Stanislav Galiev and Team Russia today in world junior pre-tournament action. According to the Jamestown Post-Journal, the game will take place at 5:00 pm AST at the Savings Bank Ice Arena.

A Sea Dogs release from earlier this week said this game will be used as a tryout for Galiev in an effort to stick with the Russians for the remainder of the tournament.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'BIG FOUR' NAMED TO TOP PROSPECTS GAME

Four Saint John Sea Dogs will have a chance to shine in front of National Hockey League scouts this January.

Today, the Canadian Hockey League announced the 40-players who will participate in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that will be played in January at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Phillips, and Tomas Jurco will all join some of the best draft eligible prospects in the CHL for the two-day event.

It’s not surprising to see Saint John’s ‘Big Four’ named to the roster for the event. The quartet is predicted to go in the first two rounds of this June’s National Hockey League Entry Draft by most publications.

According to a release, “the rosters were selected by the 30 NHL General Managers with NHL Central Scouting and include 18 players from the Ontario Hockey League, 13 players from the Western Hockey League, and nine players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.“

Huberdeau currently leads the Sea Dogs in scoring with 54 points in 35 games. His linemate, Zach Phillips, is second in team scoring with 51 points and leads the Dogs in goals with 25 on the year.

Huberdeau and Phillips will join Beaulieu on Team White, who will be coached by Doug Gilmour. Beaulieu has had an up-and-down year but has still has produced well in his draft year. He has six goals and 16 assists in 35 contests to go along with a +25 rating.

Tomas Jurco will play for Team Red which will be coached by Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry. Jurco has struggled at times with consistency, but still had a solid first half. He recorded 17 goals and 15 assists in 33 games prior to leaving to join Team Slovakia for the world juniors.

Other QMJHL players to make the cut were Drummondville’s Sean Couturier, Montreal’s Xavier Ouellet, Victoriaville’s Phillip Danault and David Honzik, and Chicoutimi’s Christopher Gibson.

Also from the release, “27 of the CHL’s 60 teams are represented in this game including four players from the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks along with four players from the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Both the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and Oshawa Generals are each represented by three players.”

The annual skills competition will be held on January 18 while the game will be played the following evening. The game will be broadcast live by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.

TOP DOGS AGAIN

For the third straight week, the Saint John Sea Dogs are ranked as the No. 1 team in the Canadian Hockey League.

The latest edition of the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings were released earlier today with the Sea Dogs sitting on top once again. Other Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams to crack the prestigious list were the Montreal Juniors at No. 4, Quebec Remparts at No. 5, and the Lewiston MAINEiacs at No. 10. The Drummondville Voltigeurs were an honourable mention.

It was a light seven days for the Sea Dogs compared to last week. Saint John played two games at Centre 200 in Sydney, defeating the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles both times by a combined score of 8-3.

On Friday, the Dogs beat the Eagles rather easily by score of 6-2. On Saturday, the QMJHL’s best club had a little more trouble, needing a last second goal by Stephen MacAulay to earn a 2-1 regulation victory.

Saint John now enters the holiday break and do not play until December 28 in Charlottetown.

The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top 10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Here are the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for week 14:

1 Saint John Sea Dogs (29-4-0-2)
2 Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (28-4-0-1)
3 Portland Winterhawks (25-9-0-3)
4 Montreal Juniors (26-5-3-2)
5 Quebec Remparts (28-7-0-2)
6 Saskatoon Blades (26-8-0-1)
7 Saginaw Spirit (23-7-3-1)
8 Ottawa 67's (24-9-1-1)
9 Kootenay Ice (23-10-1-2)
10 Lewiston MAINEiacs (24-13-0-2)

Honourable Mention:
Medicine Hat Tigers (23-9-2-0)
Niagara IceDogs (21-8-2-2)
Drummondville Voltigeurs (23-9-4-1)
In the Buzzing The Net 'Dynamic Dozen', the Sea Dogs fell all the way to third this week.

SEA DOGS ACQUIRE BEAUREGARD

The Saint John Sea Dogs have made a trade.

The Sea Dogs acquired 19-year old Alexandre Beauregard from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in exchange for a first round draft pick in the 2011 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

This season with the cellar dwelling Huskies, Beauregard has four goals and six assists in 35 contests to go along with 80 penalty minutes and a -22 rating.

Drafted by Rouyn-Noranda in the sixth round of the 2008 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft, the forward recorded three goals and two assists in 48 games as a rookie. In 2009-10, Beauregard recorded a career high eight goals and 16 assists in 65 matches. He added another two goals and two assists in the Huskies’ 11 playoff games last season.

Beauregard is certainly not known for his skill. He will provide some much needed toughness and grit to the Saint John lineup that has been missed on some occasions. Going into the trade period, it was assumed that the Sea Dogs would go after a player like Beauregard.

"He's the type of player that we were looking for: A player with a big, physical presence, who can play all three forward positions," said Sea Dogs director of hockey operations Mike Kelly in a release.

"This is the type of player that you need heading into the playoffs," Kelly said. "He can move up into the lineup, he can kill penalties, and he gives us an option as an overage player next year."

Beauregard also isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. He has been in eight fights this season which places him in a tie for sixth in the QMJHL.

ROSTERS ANNOUNCED TODAY

The rosters for the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be announced today via a conference call.

The annual game features the top-40 draft eligible prospects that play in the Canadian Hockey League. The two-day event begins on January 18 at the Air Canada Centre with a skills competition with the game being played the following evening.

A few Saint John Sea Dogs should be on the list. Strong candidates include Nathan Beaulieu, Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Phillips, and Tomas Jurco. Wildcards include Ryan Tesink, Scott Oke, and Guillaume Cloutier.

Saint John’s ‘big four’ prospects of Beaulieu, Huberdeau, Phillips, and Jurco are all projected by most draft rankings to go within the first two rounds of the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft in June.

Willy Palov of the Red Line Report tweeted this morning that the publication has Huberdeau ranked at 22, Jurco at 29, Phillips at 40, and Beaulieu at 51.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ANOTHER GOALIE RUMOR SURFACES

Sunday, Sports Juniors reported that the Saint John Sea Dogs were rumored to be interested in an 18-year old goaltender currently playing in the United States.

Today, the website says that the goaltender in question is Martin Ouellette who is currently playing with the NCAA’s University of Maine Black Bears. Ouellette was a seventh round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Quebec born goaltender, who turns 19 on December 30, has played in just three games for Maine this season, going 1-1-1 with a 2.25 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

According to Hockey’s Future, in 2009-10 “as a senior at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, Ouellette played 27 games with a 1.61 goals against average and .925 save percentage.”

Here is the Hockey’s Future scouting report on the netminder:

Ouellette is a very calm goaltender. He plays with a tremendous amount of poise for his age. He's good at cutting down angles and challenging shooters, and he's also a fairly adept puck handler for a goalie. Consistency is his glaring weakness as he's known for occasionally allowing a soft goal.
This rumor certainly comes out of left field. It makes sense for the Sea Dogs to go after a non-overage goaltender, but it is rare for a Canadian junior team to dip into the NCAA mid-season and grab one.

A Bangor Daily News article written on December 13th doesn’t have any indication that Ouellette is leaving the Bears program in the second half.

“One of the big positives is we’ve learned a lot about our team,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead about the first half of the season. “We’ve started to get clarity in our goaltending position. It has been solidifying. Dan Sullivan has been our most consistent goaltender and has played the bulk of games. But Martin Ouellette has come on very strong and shown tremendous improvement and promise. And you can’t rule Shawn Sirman out of the mix, either.”

If true and Ouellette will be arriving on the scene, it likely means the end of Jacob DeSerres’ time in Saint John. DeSerres has been very good for the Dogs but continues a rotation with Frederic Piche for net duties. With DeSerres being a 20-year old and only playing half of the games, it isn’t the best use of an overage slot.

Sports Juniors continues to bring up the possibility of an overage defenseman coming to Saint John in Steven Delisle or Yann Sauve - who are both Sea Dogs property. Delisle is reportedly out for several weeks if not the whole season because of shoulder issues while Sauve is a bit of a mystery. The Manitoba Moose recalled the Vancouver Canucks prospect last week from the East Coast Hockey League.

The Dogs have some time to work things out as they do not play again until December 28th in Charlottetown. The QMJHL trade deadline is January 6.

FUTURE STILL A FOCUS FOR DOGS

Just in case we all needed some reassurance, the Saint John Sea Dogs organization is very much still committed to the future, a squad that will hopefully be participating as host in the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup at Harbour Station.

Currently sitting first overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the mid-season break, it would be understandable if the Sea Dogs chose to go all in this season during the holiday trading period. But Saint John is still very much committed to hosting - and winning – the Canadian Hockey League’s top prize next season.

Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant told the Moncton Times & Transcript on Monday that the future is still key.

"I don't think we're going to react to anybody," said Gallant. "If it's a smart deal, we're going to do it. If it's not smart in our minds, we're not going to do it. Sure, there's other teams that are going to load up and get better.

"We'll try to tweak our lineup a little, but we really like our team. We're not going to trade our young kids to make deals for one season. We're not going to risk the future of our club. If we can make our team better, we'll do it. If not, we'll move forward and do the best we can."
This is basically the same thing Gallant and director of hockey operations Mike Kelly said last season during the trade period when the Moncton Wildcats loaded up and ultimately beat the Sea Dogs in a six game President’s Cup Final.

The Quebec Remparts sit just two points back of the Sea Dogs for first. The Montreal Juniors are three points back. Last season, thanks to a 22-game winning streak, there was a much wider margin in the race for first than this season. With the Sea Dogs knowing there are at least two teams knocking on the backdoor, could this have an effect on how they swing some deals?

WJC TODAY - 12-21-10

SWISS CHEESE
Simon Despres (left) and Team Canada cruised to an 8-0 win over Switzerland last night in World Junior Hockey Championship pre-tournament action in Oshawa, Ont.

Drummondville Voltigeurs forward and Bathurst native Sean Couturier was a star for Canada, recording a goal and assisting on three others.

Canada jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the game was five minutes old. Marcus Foligno, Jaden Schwartz, and Casey Cizikas each recorded markers as the team took a three goal advantage into the first intermission.

Tyson Barrie, Louis Leblanc, Couturier, and Calvin de Haan each scored in the middle frame while Carter Ashton closed out the goal getting with a third period marker, giving the home side an 8-0 blowout victory over the Swiss.

Canadian goaltender Mark Visenten stopped all 20-shots he faced to pick up the win.

Despres played well in the match, keeping things simple and not making any obvious mistakes on the backend.

“It was a good start. We scored some goals, hopefully we can (stay together) and keep it up into the tournament,” said Foligno to QMI Agency about his linemates Couturier and Zach Kassian. “There was one point where it was us — and we’re all at least six-foot-three — and Erik Gudbranson and Simon Depres on defence. I felt a little bit sorry for the guys we were out there with.”

Box Score | Canadian Press | Toronto Star | QMI Agency | Highlights

UP NEXT
Tonight, Canada will face a tougher test at the Air Canada Centre when they take on Sweden. Game time is 8:30 pm AST. The game can be viewed on TSN.

Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy is expected to start in goal.

This will be Canada’s second of three exhibition matches prior to the tournament kicking off on Boxing Day in Buffalo. Canada faces Finland in their final pre-tournament game on Thursday at the Kitchener Auditorium.

SLOVAKIA PREVIEW
Puck World had a preview of how Team Slovakia may stack up at the world juniors.

There are only three NHL draft picks on this roster (Panik, Marincin, Janosik), with two potential 2011 draft picks in Ceresnak and Tomas Jurco.
The blog predicts the country to finish third in Group A and sixth overall.

Monday, December 20, 2010

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 2, Screaming Eagles 1

SEA DOGS –SCREAMING EAGLES GAME AT A GLANCE
Final Score: Saint John 2, Cape Breton 1
Saint John Goals: Michael Kirkpatrick (11) and Stephen MacAulay (10)
Cape Breton Goals: Pier-Antoine Dion (10)
Winning Goaltenders: SNB - Jacob DeSerres
Losing Goaltender: CAP - Alexandre Veronneau
News 88.9 Top Dog: Ryan Tesink

THE NUMBERS
Power Play: Screaming Eagles: 0/2, Sea Dogs: 1/2
Shots on Goal: Screaming Eagles: 3+16+4=23, Sea Dogs: 16+9+13=38
Length: 2:06
Attendance: 2,813

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Defenseman Simon Despres is still away preparing for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships with Team Canada.

Forward Tomas Jurco is away with Team Slovakia who are also preparing themselves for the upcoming world junior tournament.

DOGS WIN 2-1
Barely, the Saint John Sea Dog pulled off a dramatic 2-1 victory Saturday night over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at Centre 200.

Cape Breton took an early 1-0 lead at 1:46 following a Sea Dogs turnover. Pier-Antoine Dion grabbed the puck and carried over it the line before ripping a wrist shot over the glove of Saint John goaltender Jacob DeSerres to give the Eagles an early goal advantage.

Saint John would get some great chances in the period, though, buy failed to register on any of them. The Dogs outshot the home team 16-3 in the opening frame.

Cape Breton would gain some momentum back in the second period, outshooting the visitors 16-9. But Cape Breton could not double their lead, including failing to do so on two power play opportunities.

In the third, Michael Kirkpatrick fired a hard wrist shot from the slot that went up high on Eagles backstop Alexandre Veronneau to finally tie the affair at 6:38.

With Saint John widely outshooting the Eagles in the period once again, almost eight minutes on non-stop action commenced with the officials putting their whistles away. In the final 10 seconds of the game, Ryan Tesink carried the puck into the zone and skated to the goal line in the Cape Breton zone. He sent a pass in front for Stephen MacAulay who simply tipped the puck past Veronneau to give the Dogs a 2-1 win with less than a second remaining on the clock.

WJC TODAY - 12-20-10

Team Canada will face their first test tonight when they take on Switzerland in world junior pre-tournament action.

TSN2 has the game live beginning at 8:00 pm AST from the Generals Motor Centre in Oshawa, Ont.

Tonight’s match will be the first of three exhibition games for Canada prior to the start of the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships which begins on Boxing Day in Buffalo.

From TSN.ca:

While Monday night's game will merely be a warmup for the challenge that awaits them in Buffalo, Team Canada will be using their exhibition contests to build chemistry and establish their lines and defensive pairings.

Head coach Dave Cameron must also decide who will start in net for the Canadians when the tournament begins on Boxing Day. Acadie-Bathurst's Olivier Roy and Niagara Ice Dogs' Mark Visentin are vying for the honour of representing their country between the pipes.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie provides the lineup for Canada tonight via Twitter:

Schwartz-Schenn-Leblanc
Kassian-Couturier-Foligno
Eakin-Johansen-Connolly
Howden-Cizikas-Ashton-Hamilton

Olsen-Ellis
Cowen-de Haan
Depres-Gudbranson
Barrie

Visentin (starting)
Roy
Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres finds himself paired with Erik Gudbranson, a 2010 first round pick of the Florida Panthers who currently plays with the Kingston Frontenacs.

According to the Hockey Canada website, Despres will be wearing No. 3.

For Switzerland, all eyes will be on Portland Winterhawks star Nino Niederreiter, who went fifth overall in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft to the New York Islanders.

Canada will face Sweden tomorrow night in exhibition play at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

GALIEV CLOSER TO MAKING RUSSIAN TEAM

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Stanislav Galiev will have a chance to reach his goal of making the Russian national junior team later this week.

A Sea Dogs release posted on their website states that Galiev will play in a pre-tournament game on December 23 against Slovakia. The game will be used as a mini-tryout.

Galiev learned the news early Sunday morning as the Sea Dogs returned from a pair of wins over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He is scheduled to fly to Jamestown, N.Y., Monday morning to join the Russian camp in hopes of competing in the main tournament.

The 18-year-old forward, a third-round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 2010 NHL draft, is set to suit up against Slovakia in Russia’s pre-tournament game on Dec. 23.

“I have to play an exhibition game and if I do good I’m going to play (in the tournament). It’s like a tryout for me,” Galiev said. “I’m pretty excited they gave me a chance and I have to use it.”
If Galiev makes the Russian squad, he will join Canadian Simon Despres and Slovakian Tomas Jurco as the Sea Dogs to play in the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships. Galiev’s exhibition game on the 23rd will be against Jurco’s Slovaks while the Russians open up the tournament against Canada on Boxing Day.

“It will be fun to play against each other,” Galiev said.

The Washington Capitals prospect knows all about playing against teammates as he suited up for Russia in Game One of the 2010 Subway Super Series against Sea Dogs Nathan Beaulieu, Zach Phillips, and Jonathan Huberdeau.

In 31 games this season, Galiev is on a point-per-game pace with 16 goals 15 assists. On Friday, the first overall pick in the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft scored two goals in Saint John’s 6-2 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The selection process for the Russian team has been a confusing mess. A couple rosters from the Russian media stated that Galiev would join the team either for a training camp or for the tournament. Apparently, those were not accurate as the Sea Dog was given the news today.

On a side not, RussianProspects.com tweeted the following this morning: “Ivan Telegin NOT to play at the WJC due to an injury, Stan Galiev called as substitute.”

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

REPORT: Sea Dogs in talks for Mastropietro

Finally, a legit trade rumor involving the Saint John Sea Dogs has been brought up.

Steve Turcotte of the Shawinigan newspaper La Nouvelliste posted on his blog yesterday that the Sea Dogs have been in talks with the Victoriaville Tigres about goaltender Antonio Mastropietro.

Turcotte is very reliable, always posting a ton of rumors and reports during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League holiday trading period – which opens today. Neil Hodge of the Times & Transcript also included the St. Leonard, Quebec native on his list of players who could be on the move over the next couple of weeks.

This could be an interesting move by the Sea Dogs. By acquiring the 19-year old goaltender, he would help fix some of Saint John’s goaltending concerns for next season when the team makes a run for the 2012 Memorial Cup.

Or, perhaps the Sea Dogs plan on bringing in another overage player. If so, goaltender Jacob DeSerres could be on his way out, and with Saint John having no real solid goaltending prospects, Mastropietro may be the man to go after.

So far this season with the Tigres, he is 12-7-1-1 to go along with a 2.94 goals against average and a 0.902 save percentage. Mastropietro has been Victoriaville’s No. 1 netminder this season and made 32 saves earlier this year in a 4-2 loss to the Sea Dogs at Harbour Station.

Last season, Mastropietro was the backup to New York Islanders prospect Kevin Poulin. In the semi-final playoff series against Saint John, Mastropietro saw just 23 seconds of ice time.

The Sea Dogs begin their 10-day break today and return to action on December 28 in Prince Edward Island. The trading period closes on January 6.

For some reason, there are a ton of videos of Mastropietro practicing his skills on YouTube. Here is one of them:



Photo Credit: Telegraph-Journal

SEA DOGS OUTSIDER: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

By Bert Richardson
Station Nation Staff

And so it begins.

Today marks the first day of the Quebec Major Hockey League’s holiday trading period, a two-and-a-half week frenzy that can turn pretenders into contenders and put mid-pack teams into rebuild mode.

The Saint John Sea Dogs enter the trade period ranked first in the Maritimes Division, first in the QMJHL, and first in the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings. Not too shabby.

The Port City juniors were expected to take a bit of a step back this season after a trip to the President’s Cup Final last season. But with a 29-4-0-2 record in the first half, they have done anything but.

So here are the Sea Dogs, in a similar position they were in last year. The only moves Saint John made during the holiday trading period were minor, acquiring defenseman Christian Morin and overage goaltender Marco Cousineau.

Could this year, however, be a different story?

“Everyone keeps telling me Saint John is going to make a splash during the trade period,” tweeted the Chronicle Herald’s Willy Palov earlier this week. “They have the assets to do it.”

Right now, the Sea Dogs have more options than Christmas shopping at the As-Seen-On-TV Store.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

MacAULAY MIRACLE

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 2, Screaming Eagles 1

SYDNEY – Stephen MacAulay’s late third period goal gave the Saint John Sea Dogs a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Saturday night at Centre 200 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

With just 0.4 remaining on the clock, Ryan Tesink centered the puck off Stephen MacAulay’s stick and in to give the Sea Dogs a thrilling win to close out the first half of the 2010-11 campaign.

Cape Breton took an early first period lead and hung on to it until the third period where the Sea Dogs took the game over. It was quite similar to the October 3 game at Centre 200 between these two, only it was the Eagles pulling off a late third period marker to win that match in regulation.

Eagles’ netminder Alexandre Veronneau was terrific all night long, but despite making 36 saves, he remains without a win this season.

North Sydney native Michael Kirkpatrick had the other Sea Dogs goal while Jacob DeSerres made 22 saves in the win.

Pier-Antoine Dion was the lone Cape Breton goal getter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

DOGS SEND EAGLES SCREAMING

SN POST-GAME
FINAL: Sea Dogs 6, Screaming Eagles 2

SYDNEY, NS – The Saint John Sea Dogs redeemed themselves at Centre 200 on Friday night.

After suffering a heartbreaking and brutal 2-1 loss in Cape Breton earlier this season, the Sea Dogs erased those bad memories with a 6-2 victory over the Screaming Eagles Friday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

Zach Phillips and Stanislav Galiev both had two goals while Nathan Beaulieu and Michael Kirkpatrick added singles. Frederic Piche played well in the Sea Dogs crease, making some big saves in the game. He stopped 22 pucks in the win.

Saint John got off to a bit of a slow start, being outshot 11-7. But the Sea Dogs slowly got momentum going in their direction with a fairly dominant second period.

Cape Breton had goals from Spencer Metcalfe and Cory MacIntosh. Goaltender Andrew Hayes was okay, allowing six goals on 30 shots.

LIVE BLOG: Sea Dogs vs Screaming Eagles

PRE-GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

By Station Nation Staff

GAME DAY
WHO: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
WHEN: Tonight, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Centre 200

VISITING TEAM: Saint John Sea Dogs
Record: 27-4-0-2 (1st in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 5-3 win vs Halifax Sunday
Leading Scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau (33GP-24G-28A-52Pts)
Notes: The Saint John Sea Dogs enter action today with a 27-4-0-1 record which is good for first place in the Maritimes Division and 10-points up on the second place Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The Sea Dogs currently sit one point up on the Montreal Juniors for first overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Saint John, however, has two games in hand over the Juniors… the Sea Dogs were ranked first in the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for a second straight week on Wednesday… Saint John is coming off a not-so-great game against the cellar dwelling Halifax Mooseheads Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs managed to pull off a 5-3 win but were outshot by a wide margin all game with the Mooseheads finishing the contest with a 46-35 shots advantage. Jonathan Huberdeau had a pair of goals while Zach Phillips, Kevin Gagne, and Mike Thomas added the singles. Jacob DeSerres made 44 saves in the victory… the Dogs continue to lead the league in offense with 160 goals scored in 33 games. They are averaging 4.84 goals per game… Saint John has also given up the fewest goals this season with 87 against in 33 matches. They are averaging 2.63 goals against per game… the Sea Dogs’ penalty kill comes into tonight’s game ranked sixth overall in the QMJHL with a rating of 0.814. It was put to the test last Sunday as the Dogs were very undisciplined, allowing the Mooseheads to have eight power play opportunities. The Herd were able to capitalize on two of those chances… Saint John’s power play went 2/8 against Halifax on Sunday. This season, the team’s man advantage unit is ranked sixth overall with a 0.230 rating… 10-4-0-1 on the road this season and have outscored their opposition 66-49 along the way. The club is averaging 4.4 goals per game away from Harbour Station. Their last road game was a week ago in Lewiston… despite a loss last Friday in Lewiston that ended a long streak of point earning games, the Sea Dogs remain hot. They are 9-1-0-0 in their last 10 games and are 6-1-0-0 in the month of December… Saint John is 0-1-0-0 at Centre 200 this season and suffered a devastating 2-1 loss in the Cape Breton on October 3… this is the Sea Dogs' final road trip prior to the 10-day holiday break. These two teams play each other again tomorrow night before departing for vacation… Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Dogs in scoring with 52 points in 33 games this season. He also leads the team in goals with 24, one ahead of his linemate Zach Phillips who has 23 markers on the year… Huberdeau and Michael Kirkpatrick lead the club in assists with 28 each… Zach Phillips is tied for the league lead in power play goals with 10… Frederic Piche will likely start in net this evening. He has a record of 12-2-0-2, a 2.48 goals against average, and a 0.915 save percentage.

HOME TEAM: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Record: 10-23-1-2 (6th in Maritimes Division)
Last Game: 6-3 loss at Moncton Tuesday
Leading Scorer: Viktor Hertzberg (29GP-15G-18A-33Pts)
Notes: The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles come into tonight's game with a record of 10-23-1-2 which places them in a tie with the Halifax Mooseheads for fifth place in the Maritimes Division with just 23 points in 36 games. The Eagles are currently occupying the final playoff spot in the QMJHL, meaning they are in the league’s 16th overall spot. The Eagles have played one more game than the Mooseheads… the Eagles are coming off a 6-3 loss in Moncton on Tuesday night. Jean Kristoff Grenier, Logan Shaw, and Pier-Antoine Dion scored for the visitors in the loss. Andrew Hayes allowed four goals on seven shots in 20-minutes of play while Alexandre Veronneau made 20 saves in his 40-minutes of action… the Eagles have been struggling of late. They have lost five straight contests and are 2-7-0-1 in their last 10-games. Cape Breton has not won since December 3 when the team defeated the dreadful Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-4 in the province of Quebec… Cape Breton is 5-8-1-1 at Centre 200 this season, one of the toughest buildings to play in in the Maritimes Division for opposing teams. They have been outscored 51-37 along the way. The Eagles have played seven more road games than home matches so far this year… the Eagles’ penalty kill has been awful this year. They are ranked 17th in the 18-team QMJHL with a rating of 0.698… Cape Breton’s power play is bit better than their penalty kill. They are ranked 14th in the league with a rating of 0.167. At home, their power play slips to 0.139… Viktor Hertzberg, the man who scored the game winning goal with just seconds left in a game earlier this season against Saint John, leads the Eagles in points this year with 33 in 29 matches. Hertzberg also leads the club in goals with 15 on the season… Hertzberg is currently tied with Cory MacIntosh for the team lead in assists with 18… not surprisingly, tough guy Spencer Matcalfe leads the Eagles in penalty minutes with 67… goaltender Andrew Hayes has seen the most ice this season for the Eagles. He has a record of 6-5-1-1, a goals against average of 3.55, and a 0.881 save percentage. Backup Alexandre Veronneau has a less-than-solid record of 0-12-0-0, a 4.72 goals against average, and a 0.834 save percentage… according to Tuesday’s Cape Breton Post, “Hertzberg (concussion) is still suffering headaches and is out indefinitely.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FORMER DOGS COACH ON THE MOVE?

According to the London Free Press, former Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Jacques Beaulieu could find himself once again head coaching a Canadian Hockey League club in the near future.

Apparently, there have been some rumblings that Beaulieu could be hired to coach the Guelph Storm. The Storm fired their head coach, Jason Brooks, on Monday.

And while this is all speculation, there are already rumblings that Beaulieu is one of the men being considered to take over from former Knight Jason Brooks, who was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Storm on Monday.

Beaulieu has all the tools. He’s been a long-time assistant with the Knights and has coached them during their most successful years. He left four years ago to become coach and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs. He made them successful and even though he was fired in his third year, he built the foundation of the team that is now No. 1 in Canada.

He returned to the Knights as an assistant coach, and does a lot of the heavy slugging. Also, he’s proven he can handle all aspects of building a team. (London Free Press)
Beaulieu was hired as the Sea Dogs head coach back in 2006 and later took over the general manager role that season (2006-07). He rebuilt Saint John’s roster, allowing the team to make the semi-finals in 2007-08 after finishing with just 20 wins the season before.

In 2008-09, the Sea Dogs failed to meet the lofty expectations put on them over the off-season, falling to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in four games in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. Beaulieu was fired not long after the Dogs’ playoff run came to an end.

Beaulieu will certainly be remembered more for his job as general manager than his role behind the bench. If not for current London Knights assistant coach, Saint John likely wouldn’t have made it to the President’s Cup Final last season. Although the Mike Kelly/Gerald Gallant era drafted and traded for a number of players who make the Dogs the No. 1 team in Canada today, Beaulieu is responsible for setting up most of the major acquisitions.

Ironically, Guelph’s general manager is one of the many Mike Kelly’s circulating around the Canadian sporting scene.

The father of Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu finished his coaching career in Saint John with a 95-111 record.

Beaulieu has, however, attached himself to the Knights nicely once again and is an asset to London’s coaching staff.

“I don’t know 100% yet what I would do (if I was asked about Beaulieu),” Knights general manager Mark Hunter said. “I would have no problem at the end of the year, but this is the middle of our season. It’s a tough position.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SEA DOGS EARN TOP SPOT AGAIN

Despite an average week for the Saint John Sea Dogs, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League club remains the top team in the country.

The Sea Dogs were named the No. 1 team in the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for the second straight week earlier today. There were some fears that Saint John would fall down the rankings this week after a so-so week of play, but apparently their performance was good enough to hang onto the top spot.

The Sea Dogs had a tough schedule last week, playing three games since the last rankings were released. Saint John defeated the PEI Rocket 4-1 at Harbour Station last Wednesday, lost in Lewiston by score of 5-2, and then defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 5-3 in the Port City.

Saint John didn’t play particularly well in any of the three contests, but were still able to earn four-of-a-possible-six points.

Other QMJHL teams to crack the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 were the Montreal Juniors and the Quebec Remparts. The Lewiston MAINEiacs were an honourable mention.

The weekly rankings of the CHL's Top 10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Here are the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for week 13:

1 Saint John Sea Dogs (27-4-0-2)
2 Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (26-4-0-1)
3 Montreal Juniors (25-5-3-1)
4 Portland Winterhawks (24-8-0-3)
5 Quebec Remparts (26-7-0-2)
6 Saskatoon Blades (24-8-0-1)
7 Saginaw Spirit (21-6-3-1)
8 Kootenay Ice (21-9-1-2)
9 Ottawa 67's (22-9-0-1)
10 Owen Sound Attack (21-9-0-2)

Honourable Mention:
Medicine Hat Tigers (21-9-2-0)
Lewiston MAINEiacs (22-12-0-2)
Red Deer Rebels (20-9-1-3)
The Sea Dogs were also first in the weekly Buzzing The Net Dynamic Dozen.

This week, the Sea Dogs travel to Cape Breton for two games on the weekend prior to the holiday break. The Screaming Eagles sit near the bottom of the QMJHL standings but were still able to stun the Sea Dogs earlier this season at Centre 200.

DESPRES MAKES TEAM CANADA

Simon Despres has made history, becoming only the second Saint John Sea Dog in franchise history to make Canada’s national junior team.

After three days of on-ice activity at selection camp in Toronto, Hockey Canada announced the final cuts early this morning. From TSN.ca:

Seventeen-year-olds Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels and Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ryan Murphy were released, along with Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray.

Both Nugent-Hopkins and Murphy are projected Top 10 selections in next year's NHL draft, while Murray - a 16-year-old - is expected to go high in the 2012 draft.

Ohter skaters going home include Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Pirri, Shawinigan winger Michael Bournival, Notre Dame's Riley Sheahen and defenceman Mark Pysyk of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Netminders JP Anderson and Calvin Pickard were let go, leaving Olivier Roy and Mark Visentin as the goaltending tandem for this year's squad.
With the final cuts made, Canada now has a 22-man roster for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, New York. The full roster can be seen on the TSN website as well.

Along with Despres, the defense will feature Jared Cowen, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Ellis, Dylan Olsen, Tyson Barrie and Erik Gudbranson.

Despres had been getting mixed reviews at camp, but seemed to play better last night in an exhibition game against the Canadian University National Team, recording an assist in a 6-2 victory. Stephane Leroux of RDS gave the ‘Big Horse’ an eight-out-of-10 rating for his play.

After getting a long look at Pittsburgh Penguins training camp, Despres has been a beast on the blue line for Saint John this season. The veteran currently sits third in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring among defenseman with nine goals and 17 assists in just 22 games.

Despres will certainly be missed by the Sea Dogs over the next few weeks. If Canada makes it to the Gold Medal final which is on January 5, Despres will miss five games – two against Moncton, two against Bathurst, and one against Prince Edward Island.

The only other player to make Team Canada in Sea Dogs franchise history was Chris DiDomenico back in 2009. Canada won gold that year.

Three other QMJHL players made the squad in Montreal Juniors forward Louis Leblanc, Acadie-Bathurst Titan goaltender Olivier Roy, and Drummondville Voltigeurs star forward Sean Couturier. The province of New Brunswick will be well represented with Couturier being from Bathurst along with a Titan and a Sea Dog on the team.

Canada begins exhibition action this Monday against Switzerland in Oshawa, Ontario. The World Juniors begin on Boxing Day when Canada takes on Team Russia, which could feature Stanislav Galiev. All games – including pre-tournament matches – can be viewed on TSN and TSN2.

Photo Credit: Telegraph-Journal

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BIG HORSE RECORDS ASSIST

With the final cuts coming Wednesday morning, Simon Despres suited up for Team Canada in an effort to show is worth one last time.

The Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman recorded an assist in Canada’s 6-2 win over the Canadian University National Team at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto Tuesday night.

Despres helped set-up Cody Eakin’s second period goal with fellow Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leaguer Michael Bournival getting the other helper.

Assuming this year's squad goes with 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders, there are still four forwards, three blueliners and two goalies left to release. The final roster that will represent Canada at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships will be announced Wednesday.

Ryan Ellis, Calvin de Haan, Jared Cowen, Brayden Schenn, Ryan Johansen, Louis Leblanc, and Zach Kassian – all considered to be locks on the team - were healthy scratches. Casey Cizikas was also out with a back injury.